Respecting a tradition that goes back hundreds of years, the leaders of Luxembourg’s political parties have spent a grueling week driving around the country, climbing ladders, and taking down their campaign posters one by one.
“Sure, this isn’t as much fun as meeting world leaders and going to fancy parties, and I do get rather lonely doing this by myself,” said DP leader and Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, climbing a tree to cut down a poster. “Luckily, I’ve got my scarf to keep me company. Moien, scarf.”
CSV leader Claude Wiseler says that he began taking down posters last Sunday, just hours after voting ended, to make sure they didn’t get damaged.
“If you pull them too hard, you can tear the corners, see,” he said, wearing a fluorescent yellow vest and using an elevated platform to raise himself several meters into the air near a utility pole. “They’re a little fragile, as we’ve been using the same posters since the 1980s. If we’re careful, we can use them again in 2023.”
Pirate Party leader Sven Clement says that for taking down posters, it’s important to use new digital technologies.
“Look, I have an app that tells me where all my posters are,” he said. “Now I just need to find a way to crowdsource their removal.”
Etienne Schneider of LSAP was seen using long-handled garden shears to cut off the fasteners on his party’s posters.
“Sure, it’s tempting to have workers do this for me, but that goes against my party’s credo,” he said. “I’ve taken down 13 posters today, and I did 25 yesterday. Only four thousand more to go.”
Christian Kmiotek of the Green Party was observed riding a bicycle to the recycling center, pulling a small trailer full of his party’s posters.
“I’ll recycle most of these,” he said. “The ones I cannot recycle, I’ll shred and turn into compost for my turnip garden.”
The tradition of party leaders removing their own posters goes back to the Middle Ages, when only feudal lords were allowed to touch images of themselves, fearful that if given a chance, peasants would immediately vandalize the lords’ faces with comic mustaches, dirty words, and other graffiti.
Originally published by RTL Today on Oct. 20, 2018.